Drink a little, live longer!

We all know, or well, some of us know, that people who absolutely and always abstain from alcohol tend to dourness and to be — no-fun. That’s one way to put it. Like those who never dance, or worse – those who are against dancing for religious reasons, people who abstain can be a drag to be around, particularly if they are preachy about it. Or, if they talk constantly about their “recovery” and give you a suspicious look when you produce a beer from the fridge. On the other hand, some people just can’t drink, it makes them ill, or they have too much alcoholism in the family and wish to avoid this fate, or — they are alcoholic. And, yes, they would need their recovery. Some people just never got used to the taste of booze or they just decided one day they didn’t like it. That’s fine too, no rule that says you must drink. Being half American Indian, I can tell you now that there are many people who just should never drink, and when they do any way, it gets them in trouble since the alcohol appears to affect them dramatically, and they have a hard time being moderate. And, I mean, many natives, if not all, but many — many. However, the other side of my family, my father’s side, have always managed to be quite moderate around alcohol, and my dad even reports a family custom of having children drink petite glasses of wine, at dinner because “a little wine is not bad for children.” I have never seen my father drunk, and he does put away beer, but he has never displayed some of the wilder moments of my mother when imbibing, (although she does not drink habitually but alcohol does have more of an effect on her when she does, she keeps it to a dull roar, a little bit of laughing and singing these days although in the past, there has been some table dancing) — I think it is a chemical difference. As for me, I am somewhat in-between, apparently, although I have long ago given up any hard liquor except for very, very rare occasions – and in very controlled circumstances. That way, I tend to avoid the table dancing… I am a beer and wine man only.

Here, a study that shows that people who abstain tend not only to be more dour, but apparently, they croak sooner than either heavy drinkers or certainly more often than moderate ones. This is puzzling, but here it is:

One of the most contentious issues in the vast literature about alcohol consumption has been the consistent finding that those who don’t drink actually tend to die sooner than those who do. The standard Alcoholics Anonymous explanation for this finding is that many of those who show up as abstainers in such research are actually former hard-core drunks who had already incurred health problems associated with drinking.

But a new paper in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research suggests that – for reasons that aren’t entirely clear – abstaining from alcohol does actually tend to increase one’s risk of dying even when you exclude former drinkers. The most shocking part? Abstainers’ mortality rates are higher than those of heavy drinkers.

It’s too early for a beer, but this is encouraging! If only it didn’t increase my waistline. Time for the gym, then the beer!

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Instead of Mosques – more sex stores! A Gay Libertarian Palin Supporter Speaks

Trawling about on the web, you find all kinds of gems. Here’s a funny, irreverent post from someone I just discovered, Alex Knepper, a pro-Palin, libertarian-conservative, gay Republican according to Libertarian Republican .

And, right from Knepper’s article in the Daily Caller, I quote:

“First of all, I like sex. I don’t like Islam and Islam doesn’t like sex, so I figure I’m striking two blows against religious puritanism with such a proposal. America’s refusal to censor pornography and sexual expression is glorious. Contrary to the overtones of the self-righteous neo-Victorians of the left, complaining about “sleaze,” there’s really nothing wrong with strip clubs or sex stores. Would Ayman al-Zawahiri frequent the Pussycat Lounge?

I’m not being facetious. I loathe this proposed mosque. The imam is clearly a “moderate” only insofar as he doesn’t want to blow up buildings, and, as an atheist, I don’t exactly oppose Islam on the grounds that Muslims need them some Jesus. Moreover, I’m a proponent of what pretentious academics call “low culture” — the fast-food joints, sex clubs, and novelty shops that are such “eyesores” to Nicolaus Mills of the Christian Science Monitor. Remember Britney Spears’ recent #1 hit “3″ — a song about a one-girl/two-guy threesome — with its immortal line “Livin’ in sin is the new thing”? That’s what Islam needs.

It’s not just Mr. Mills of the Monitor who is engaging in this nonsense. Run a simple Google search and you’ll find thousands of supporters of the mosque project complaining about the strip club. The right can take solace from this fact, I suppose: beyond allowing their teenage daughters to use birth control, the left is basically as sexually hung up as the right is. But the fact that there are strip clubs near Ground Zero is precisely why we shouldn’t promote mosques nearby. What an ugly contrast: a shrine to an ancient book of myths juxtaposed with sexual freedom. What better way to demonstrate our differences with Islamic totalitarianism than to declare proudly that we, as a culture, are okay with sexual expression? Let’s ditch this mosque and build another sex store.”

Read more: Daily Caller – Instead of Mosques Build More Sex Stores!

Ground Zero Mosque — UK Atheist Pat Condell pulls no punches

That irrepressible English atheist Pat Condell on the Ground Zero mosque — or ah, “community center”, with a “prayer room” of course, on the top two floors… He speaks the bare and scorching truth far better than I can, and as usual, pulls no punches.

And, this newer video, also incendiary in its truth telling… “Bad Faith at Ground Zero” where he highlights Mayor Bloomberg’s financial interests in Dubai connected with Sharia finance.

No Ground Zero Mosque

Of course, I’ve been watching the Mosque at Ground Zero controversy closely for some time, even a bit before it burst into the scene of most people’s awareness apparently. Before the ridiculous rant by Keith Olbermann hit the interwebs where he goes on about how the mosque is NOT a mosque at all, but actually a “cultural center’ with um, a “prayer room” on one of the many floors. Prayer room? Ah, I think that is where Muslims pray and that would make this a mosque sir. But whether you want to call it a Mosque, a “cultural center”, or just “Park 51” it is a controversy and building. While it is certainly the “right” of Muslims to build any kind of religious structure they wish to, and the government cannot shut them down, since we do have religious freedom in this country, that doesn’t mean – it is actually a good idea. Any half-assed study of Islam can tell you that when Islam achieves a victory, they erect a triumphalist monument to that victory, often a mosque where a church once was, or in the case of Jerusalem, the “Dome of the Rock” where the Jewish “Temple Mount” once stood. This mosque is sure to look like victory to Jihadis and sympathizers worldwide, and – they are worldwide.

Christopher Hitchens was initially very skeptical of many of the critics of the proposed mosque, however, after looking more closely at Imam Rauf’s actual views he writes:

I do not find myself reassured by the fact that Imam Rauf publicly endorses the most extreme and repressive version of Muslim theocracy. The letterhead of the statement, incidentally, describes him as the Cordoba Initiative’s “Founder and Visionary.” Why does that not delight me, either?

Emboldened by the crass nature of the opposition to the center, its defenders have started to talk as if it represented no problem at all and as if the question were solely one of religious tolerance. It would be nice if this were true. But tolerance is one of the first and most awkward questions raised by any examination of Islamism. We are wrong to talk as if the only subject was that of terrorism. As Western Europe has already found to its cost, local Muslim leaders have a habit, once they feel strong enough, of making demands of the most intolerant kind. Sometimes it will be calls for censorship of anything “offensive” to Islam. Sometimes it will be demands for sexual segregation in schools and swimming pools. The script is becoming a very familiar one. And those who make such demands are of course usually quite careful to avoid any association with violence. They merely hint that, if their demands are not taken seriously, there just might be a teeny smidgeon of violence from some other unnamed quarter …

The above is thanks to Jihad Watch which I highly recommend!

And, here the article quoted from Slate – A Test of Tolerance
The “Ground Zero mosque” debate is about tolerance—and a whole lot more

No, Rauf’s views are not actually reassuring, I agree with Hitchens, and also with Irshad Manji. She is a lesbian Muslim who urgently desires reform of Islam and has a thoughtful, fair-minded opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal , she expresses her own emotions regarding the construction of this cultural center and mosque and asks important questions of Imam Rauf, I quote:

“Now apply this point to Park51, the proposed multistory Islamic community center and prayer space to be erected at the edge of Ground Zero. Let me be blunt about my own emotions: I am offended by its proximity to the site of 9/11. I am also disappointed that Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf—who is not an Islamist—has nonetheless played crass politics unbecoming of a man of dialogue.

So far, the imam has rebuffed accusations of insensitivity. Yet he made those very accusations about the Danish cartoons of Prophet Muhammad. In a February 2006 press release, Imam Rauf announced that he was “appalled” by the drawings. He called it “willful fomentation” and “gratuitous” to republish them throughout Europe. In the following weeks, almost no U.S. newspaper printed the caricatures…

…That means setting aside bombast and asking the imam questions born of the highest American ideals: individual dignity and pluralism of ideas.

• Will the swimming pool at Park51 be segregated between men and women at any time of the day or night?

• May women lead congregational prayers any day of the week?

• Will Jews and Christians, fellow People of the Book, be able to use the prayer sanctuary for their services just as Muslims share prayer space with Christians and Jews in the Pentagon? (Spare me the technocratic argument that the Pentagon is a governmental, not private, building. Park51 may be private in the legal sense but is a public symbol par excellence.)

• What will be taught about homosexuals? About agnostics? About atheists? About apostasy?

• Where does one sign up for advance tickets to Salman Rushdie’s lecture at Park51?”

Here, the full article:
A Muslim Reformer on the Mosque

However, as to Rauf’s worldview I tend to agree more with Andy McCarthy that most likely Imam Rauf * is * an Islamist, although he may not be an actual * terrorist *. Here:

Omitting any mention of Imam Feisal Rauf’s ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, his praise for the principles of Khomeini’s 1979 Iranian revolution, his refusal to condemn Hamas, and his promotion of sharia

My own feeling, no ground zero Mosque/cultural center – period. I will echo Manji but with a difference… I don’t want to wait and see what this place will be, I am already certain it will not be a place of liberal Islam. Let them build it somewhere else, as they are free to. Let them build their “cultural center” and “prayer space” with good intentions toward reform of Islam away from terror and hatred of the west and western values – of human rights. With acceptance of the rights of women and at least, away from believing that gays and lesbians should be executed. Let them build it with the intention to stop murderous jihad all over the world, in the Philipines, in the Sudan, in Nigeria, Somalia, India, in the United States, the Middle East, in Russia and in the UK and the entire EU – in Canada. Let them call for Iran to stop murdering its own dissidents.

More Milton Friedman – the power of prices and all the knowledge in a pencil

I get on jags and right now, I’m on a Friedman jag. It won’t last longer than one night, though I bet I’ll return again some other time. The guy is brilliant in how he simplifies certain ideas here, about pricing as an impersonal mechanism that moves markets. Prices contain knowledge in a sense, they rise and fall as conditions change due to activities and desires and necessity. If government stays out of the mix enough to allow people to “voluntarily cooperate” they innovate, and exchange materials and products. He notes how economic liberty is a very important, a crucial, kind of freedom, and how economic liberty and other types of freedom are so important that people will go through tremendous hardship to attain them. I’m still exploring his ideas, and there is a lot to learn. He begins with the ideas of Adam Smith. I remember first hearing of Adam Smith and feeling quite intrigued, as I had not learned about him much in school. We learned Marx, but no Smith. A shame that!

Milton Friedman – why he’s not a conservative but a liberal – and free markets

A thought provoking interview with economist Milton Friedman about government control and paternalism, free markets, and the singular power of free individuals pursuing their enlightened self interest to create and sustain prosperity. He states he is not against government, but against overweening government controls which lead to totalitarianism. Friedman is in favor of unleashing the power of individual creativity instead of allowing encroaching government control to make people essentially – into slaves or serfs. An interesting reminder today, as the government continues to expand in order to stimulate and sustain an economic recovery, that each day appears more distant.

Good food for thought, and things I’m thinking about these days!

Johnny Rotten Neocon Punk Rocker?

While many singers and bands boycott Israel, often under enormous left wing pressure, Mr. Lydon (aka Rotten) is decidedly not going along with the herd.
I really resent the presumption that I’m going there to play to right-wing Nazi jews [sic]. If Elvis-f-ing-Costello wants to pull out of a gig in Israel because he’s suddenly got this compassion for Palestinians, then good on him. But I have absolutely one rule, right? Until I see an Arab country, a Muslim country, with a democracy, I won’t understand how anyone can have a problem with how they’re treated.

And, this video from ’77:

And, I would remiss if I didn’t give credit to Canadian blogger Kathy Shaidle, who is battling “hate speech” charges from the Canadian government. She posted this earlier in the week, August 21st, on her always provocative and often, funny blog: Five Feet of Fury

Lydia Lunch in a recent interview – art break

Lydia Lunch — always reminds me of what’s important- art, intensity, vision, risk and a tincture of mayhem.  Here, she talks about her influences and what drives her art.   From the description – “New York-born Lydia Lunch is a singer, poet, writer, actor, visual artist, and the fourth subject of our Sound & Vision series. From signaling the end of Punk with her first band, Teenage Jesus and the Jerks, to presenting art installations as a reaction to Tracey Emin I want you to smell the blood on the sheets Lunchs work is provocative to say the least. In this film, featuring excerpts from her live performances, she talks about how Goya and Marcel Duchamp are amongst her favourite artists”

I love this woman’s work and have been following her since the beginning there is really no one quite like her.  She is uncompromising, confrontational and sexy as mayhem in a dream.  Oh yea, and I’ve met her, and she’s really nice to boot!

binaries in politics — how I began my journey

In my own journey, I’ve often wondered if  the old “right” and “left” political binary have become obsolete.   Binaries in my neck of the woods are considered fluid, flimsy as gossamer veils, subject to endless interrogation.  Binaries are very nearly, “evil” or at least, tainted by a certainty that is stolid and suffocating  — repressive.  Now, really, I think that type of thinking is just plain wrongheaded.  I mean, binaries are also creative and generative of possibility, while also supportive of a basic structure that is fundamental and sustaining.  Any way, there are all kinds of binaries and one is —  left and right.

I began to question my own allegiance to the left, which was deeply rooted in my identity as an outsider, when I kept running up against a morbid and deep intolerance.  That’s right, an intolerance from the left.  I was too manly, when I became a man, and too heterosexual, when I became an apparently straight or heterosexual dude.  I used words that were too raw and primal in my writing, I was not endlessly qualifying or non-judgmental in my language or tone.  I made fun of people, everyone, but still, I made fun of people.  And, while I made fun of the religious right and Republicans, I also made fun of genderqueers and feminists. The first got me laughs, and the other got me in trouble.  I made fun of what I considered pretense on the left.  I was pro feminist but also not anti-male, at least not enough to satisfy my critics.

So, I began to question.  Was I right?  Or, was I wrong?  Or, were those not even the things I should be considering.   Had I just not seen deeply enough my “male privilege” now that I was a man?

Over time,   I began to see that my critics, my radical leftist feminist critics, often saw the world in a very cartoonish way.  In some way,  I discovered, they were as simplistic as any right-wing theocratic hate-monger – our nemesis.  They were just as simplistic and as certain of their own righteousness, and therefore just as dangerous and deluded, even if these “progressives” were nominally on “my side”.    And, really the bile and hatred hurt more, coming from the left, my left, my home, then it ever could from the right.

Any way, I started to look around, and I now am bringing you in on this journey.  I’ve found another perspective.  And, I have come to realize that the left I loved, is not the left as it is today, or maybe– it is quite possible that I did not see them so clearly before.  It is possible, yes – it is.

You see, I think that the hard left, the one that was once called “communist”, but is now simply the left,  the progressive left, that left sucks up various groups that are embattled and fighting for their voice or rights, or that feel squeezed out or misunderstood, I think the left takes those groups and uses them.  It uses them for its own purposes, it is very, very opportunistic.   Now, I am not saying that there have not been actual rights won, or crucial battles that needed to be fought.  Even so,  these legitimate grievances are used for a greater agenda, that I have found, to be antithetical to the rights of individuals – to liberty.  These groups become victims and oppressed champions of the struggle, the struggle for that utopian ideal, and they are — the latest flavor of oppressed.   All is fine until, someone in one of these groups says something outside the program, and it is a program.  Until you write or paint or dream or just are, something that doesn’t fit in the little place they’ve got for you.  Until you no longer sound one day, like the victim.  Then, you have problems.

I leave you with that thought.  Those thoughts, and I’ll be back, to add some more.

Tree Hugging Crying Hippies

Apparently, there are some videos out there of Earth First hippies (activists) crying over dead trees. For real. Some guys decided to do some cryin’ of their own here — inspired by those activists.

note: OK now, I do support taking care of the environment and all, I mean, what kind of earth loving walking in balance with nature Native do you think I am? hah – but ah, I also support — laughing.